The Top 10 DAWs for music production in 2017

Getting the right music production software is vital to your music. Whether you’re recording a live band through a mixer or creating an electronic piece completely from scratch, a good DAW is essential to making your music.

Thankfully in the modern world we have access to hundreds of pieces of software instantly – but that can make it hard to find the right program just for you. To help you out we’ve collected our top 10 favourite DAWs, each with their own unique traits, that we think are the best artists can get.

Keep an eye out for a list of our favourite FREE DAWs coming soon as well.

Ableton Live ($99+)

(Windows & Mac)

Ableton is one of the world’s most popular DAWs and with good reason. It features a flexibility and feature set that means no matter what you are working on you can create and edit your music exactly how you want.

Ableton is perfect for both beginners and experts with an accessible UI that features a massive range of functions the further you delve into it. Ableton offers 2 view modes that you can switch between at any time: The standard Arrangement View and Session View which allows you to loop different tracks and pieces to build the music as you go.

Live is a fast, fun, intuitive way to make music and a valuable tool to any musician or producer.

FL Studio ($110+)

(Windows & Mac)

FL Studio is an OG of the music production world, with 18 years of innovation behind it’s software today. FL Studio has become renowned for it’s versatility allowing you to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix and more all inside it’s brilliantly easy to use program.

FL Studio’s in-built MIDI arranging is one of it’s most lauded abilities allowing beginners to experiment with transposing and experts to completely write tracks how they would like. Every purchase of FL Studio also comes with free updates for LIFETIME, meaning that you will always have free access to the latest version.

Logic Pro ($199)


Logic Pro is Apple’s darling music production studio for Macs. It offers a fully fleshed out recording studio that is used by professionals (so you know it’s quality). Logic Pro is as visually appealing as it is powerful with gorgeous colours to order your arrangements and sophisticated functions to perfect your projects with.

Whilst it is Mac only this makes it one of the best choices for Mac users as almost everything that can be used on Mac will work with Logic Pro. There are also frequent updates for the software, with a recent update integrating the new Macbook’s touch bar for some super cool functionality in your mixes.

Steinberg Cubase ($80+)

(Windows & Mac)

Cubase have established themselves as a staple in music production software. Using Cubase’s intuitive controls make every step of the production easy – and it’s designed to help you with every step whether that be tapping in the first few notes to your track or tweaking the levels in your final mix.

Their are 3 different versions of Cubase which offer a different package depending on what you need. Their flagship software Cubase Pro is for everything from composing, recording, mixing and editing music with the program’s sophisticated audio and MIDI tools. Cubase Artist is made for deep editing and sequencing whilst Cubase Elements is the feature-packed program for recording music using Cubase Pro’s world famous technology.

Pro Tools ($29+)

(Windows & Mac)

Pro Tools has become renowned as a powerful, quality program not just for music but audio in general, with TV and filmmakers among those who laud the software. Pro Tools is a powerful DAW with deep plugin integration and they’ve recently added loop-based creation allowing you to progressively work on a project.

One of the reasons Pro Tools is so loved is it’s Cloud Collaboration features which allows you to collaborate with anyone – no matter where in the world they are. This also means that working across multiple machines on a project is as smooth as a dream. You can work with up to 10 collaborators, making Pro Tools an essential product for long distance collaborations and bands.

Another unique thing about Pro Tools is you can pay a monthly subscription if you can’t afford the full license, so you can use it only for as long as you need or work towards paying for a full version.

Renoise ($75)

(Windows, Mac & Linux)

Renoise is an interesting DAW in that it does things differently using a “tracker-based approach”. What this essentially means is that the music is run in grids similar to Ableton’s Session view which is brilliant for step-editing and building the elements of a track one-by-one.

Renoise working in grid-based patterns streamlines the creative process but that’s not to say there isn’t a massive range of functionality with Renoise. It features dozens of built-in audio processors and support for a wide range of virtual instruments. In addition you can extend the program with scripting to control it however you want using MIDI and OSC devices.

N-Track Studio ($49+)

(Windows & Mac)

N-Track is famed for it’s virtually unlimited capacity of audio and MIDI tracks with the same capabilities as most of the top DAWs at an incredibly affordable price. It has everything you’d want for recording and mixing with support for a giant range of virtual instruments including ReWire and AU.

One of N-Track’s standout features is it’s cross-platform compatibility which allows you to record and edit between any machine – Windows, Macs, and both iOS and Android mobile apps. The mobile version of N-Track Studio are also incredibly powerful putting a full DAW with all the features you could want literally into your hands.

MOTU Digital Performer ($499)

(Windows & Mac)

MOTU is one of the serious OG’s with MIDI versions going back as far as 1984. It is an incredible platform for streamlining all the elements of your projects into a singular workflow that sparks creativity and inspiration without overwhelming. It features state-of-the-art studio production technology for a high quality mixing and recording experience with a massive variety of editing capabilities.

DP features next gen rendering and buffering technology that is made to keep running to your computers very limits, allowing you to let loose with plugins and tracks. Despite their long-running Mac exclusivity, MOTU have made DP available on Windows too recently.

MOTU also peculiarly offer the option to upgrade from another DAW for a discounted price if you’re looking to switch.

Propellorhead Reason (€369)

(Windows & Mac)

Reason is incredibly reasonable in introducing itself to new users, to it’s software or DAWs in general. They boast such an accessible program that on their website they provide a simple 5-step process to creating a track on Reason.

One of Reason’s standout features is it’s massive host of packaged VSTs that not only give you the tool set to create a massive variety in Reason, but can even be used outside of Reason with other programs. It’s layout will also appeal to tech geeks with the ability to view it as a studio rack, with virtual cable patching too.

Propellorhead’s Reason is available as a much cheaper Essentials version as well as the full DAW.

Cakewalk Sonar ($19.99+)


Sonar is an award-winning DAW with a bunch of cool features, like touch screen compatibility. Sonar comes with an impressive list of lauded effects and virtual instruments to give a professional touch to your mix without even having to buy anything external.

Sonar is available in a variety of different versions which range from incredibly affordable with all of the base features to the regular price of a few hundred for the fully fleshed out version with all the extras, and they’re all available to purchase on a monthly basis to save even more money. Every purchase of Sonar also guarantees you 12 months of free updates, which they regularly add.

So there you have our list of the best programs for creating, mixing and producing music in 2017. Be sure to check back on the RouteNote Blog for more equipment, top lists and news about the music industry – your number one stop for the world of music.

The RouteNote team’s Songs for the Summer

Every day in the RouteNote office is filled with music, whether it be the awesome stuff uploaded to us or our own office playlist streaming all our favourite tunes through the Sonos.

With the sunny season finally here for another year the team have shared the songs that make our summers.

Real Estate – The Bend

What’s that you hear? Summer? The definitive surf shack song straight from the sun itself!

Puscifer – Momma Sed

This is my summer track as I used to blast it a lot while driving to work or round the coast during the summer a few years back.

Hiatus Kaiyote – Nakamarra

I first heard this song from a distant land as I paddled down the Mississippi River. I was drawn to it from afar like a sailor to a siren.

Groove Armada – At The River

That’s me! The entirety of Groove Armada’s Vertigo is brilliant chilled house and the perfect soundtrack for any summer evening, or day if you wanna be like that. At The River is arguably the peak of their vibe-packed album.

Lowlife – Ramified

It was the summer of 69′ when I first heard this record. Man, we were killin’ time, we were young and restless. We needed to unwind, I guess nothin’ can last forever, forever? no.

Clean Bandit – Symphony (Myth of Unity cover)

I selected this song for an old school style on a new track that just draws you back in time and time again.

Oceansize – Commemorative 9/11 T-Shirt

Asking me to round down my favourite things into a singular certain thing is a one way ticket to existential dread. If I happen upon a particular aisle in the supermarket, let’s say one that contains frozen treats, then inexorably I will end up pacing back and forth between two or three prime contenders for selection – My brain caught in a feedback loop.
This only ends at the realisation that my indecision has caused me to be ten minutes late for work. You might be wondering what exactly this has to do with the RouteNote Summer List – Well my analysis paralysis put me in mind of Commemorative T-shirt by Oceansize.
Also I got a Solero.

Fatboy Slim – Don’t Let the Man Get You Down

I like the way it builds up into a funky beat and the repeating sample makes it easy to sing and get down to.

Moonchild – Cure

I wanted to choose a song with a lighthearted, chilled vibe and as the amazing Moonchild have just conveniently released an entire album of summer feel good tunes it was the perfect option, this song is one of my faves from the album!

Jacob Miller – Baby I Love You So

Summer doesn’t feel right without thick bass lines and songs about love.

Dan Auerbach – Shine On Me

The Black Keys have always tickled my fancies and this latest single by lead man Dan Auerbach makes me want to tickle them back.

Los Porcos – Do You Wanna Live

It’s a fun track that gets me every summer

Beastie Boys – Just a Test

Although I was born in the 90’s, it transports me to the rise of Hip Hop, Skate Culture and Graffiti. Hard to imagine anyone would need another reason to listen to this killer track.

Funkshone – Purification Pt. 1

I heard it a party and asked them when it was released thinking he was going to say 1965 but i then found out it was 2006! Made me pleased that people are still going for that retro sound.

Samaris – R4vin

I stumbled across Samaris while watching Youtube videos of the ‘Icelandic Airwaves’ festival. A great trip-hop/electronic band somewhere between Portishead and The Knife.

Grouch – Soul Provider

I chose it because Jacca told me I had to.

Smashing Pumpkins – Mayonaise

A hellish slice of spangled, nostalgic, luminescent face melt.

Will Smith – Summertime

Big Willy style, say no more

MAX MANIE – Laura (Alex Schulz Remix)

I like this song cause I can see myself drinking a nice cold beer on the beach while hearing this in the background.

Metronome – The Bay

I like the funk and I saw someone pee those benches last time I was in Torquay.

Portugal, The Man – Feel It Still

It’s just an all round feel good track

RouteNote partners with South Korea’s MelOn music store

RouteNote are thrilled to announce a new partnership with MelOn, bringing our global roster of talented artists to South Korea.

MelOn is a South Korean music store that has been running since 2004 and owned by LOEN Entertainment since 2009. MelOn has an impressive 2.3 million users just in South Korea who download and stream music from MelOn’s music service.

What does this mean as a RouteNote user?

This simply means that there is one more store and another few million people who you can distribute your music to, for free, and get heard even further around the world. All previous releases will automatically be uploaded to MelOn so you don’t need to do anything and your music will get a whole new audience!

If you would like to opt-out of your music being added to MelOn please email with your username.

What is MelOn?

MelOn aren’t just a music service but a major influence in South Korea’s unique music consumption. In 2013 they were ranked as the 3rd most influential entity in K-pop – South Korea’s broad and massively popular musical “genre”. MelOn’s name is an acronym for Melody On.

MelOn can be accessed through a variety of devices including digital cameras, as well as the expected smartphones, digital audio players and portable media players. Users can enjoy features such as language and images on the desired song or album, SNS sharing, music listening, music video playback and download, mobile phone music transfer, and iTunes integration. Melon also allows you create custom ringtones – which is pretty cool.

MelOn have won a variety of awards since launching 13 years ago, including:

Sign up to RouteNote for free today and get you music on all the top music stores and services, including: Spotify, iTunes, TIDAL, Google Play, Amazon, and many more

RouteNote digital music distribution free music stores streaming services indie independent artists djs producers

Bristol psych-rockers Insomnichord go acoustic with us + interview

Insomnichord are a brilliant up-and-coming progressive/psychedelic rock band from Bristol, UK and here’s how they sound unplugged.

One of the many fantastic artists on RouteNote, Insomnichord are a rising band from Bristol. Always keen to see how the artists using us are doing we met up with band in-between playing and studying to record an acoustic set and chat to the boys about the band.

They describe themselves saying:

Insomnichord are a psychedelic rock band birthed from the glittering depths of Ganesha’s cosmic echo chamber. They fuse fuzzy choruses with mind-warping synths and take influences from the classic psych sound of the 60s and 70s along with modern artists such as Tame Impala, Miley Cyrus, and The Simpsons. Insomnichord will take you to another dimension and back again so buckle up and hold onto your panties.

Below is the band’s gorgeous acoustic versions of two of their songs; Ambrosia and Sick. Watch the video for some acoustic vibes set to the luscious backdrop of the band’s garden.

After performing their set for us the guys spoke to us about the band including their adventures recording their upcoming album and Matti’s fecal bonding with Chris Martin from Coldplay. Check out their interview below and get to know the band on another level.

We can’t wait to hear Insomnichord’s new music later this year and look forward to catching up with them again soon!


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Win 2 free weekend tickets to Electric Beach Festival in Cornwall

The lovely people at Electric Beach Festival have given us 2 free tickets to their amazing, shorefront, music-packed weekend to give away to YOU!

Electric Beach Festival takes place on the golden shores of Great Western Beach, Newquay, Cornwall on the 16th-17th June

Expect world class acts, hip hop, dance, reggae and more, all with the sound of the waves lapping against the shore and the sand between your toes.

Mojitos, ice cold beers and cider. Not to forget the most epic VIP after parties that run all night after the festival until the early hours at the Koola Club and Chy Bar, just a quick walk away.

For your chance to win 2 full free weekend tickets to the Electric Beach Festival just like the RouteNote Facebook page and share the post below:

We will pick a winner at random next Friday on the 26th May.

Listen to a never-before-heard Beatles outtake from Sgt. Pepper

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles legendary album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and to celebrate,you can listen to a previously unreleased version of their title track.

The outtake comes from the anniversary edition of their famed Sgt. Pepper album which will be released on the 26th May. The anniversary album will feature new mixing from Giles Martin and Sam Okell and feature notes from surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. In addition the album will come included with a whopping 34 previously unreleased recordings for fans to hear for the first time.

The outtake version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band features a much more stripped down production that doesn’t feature the horns or the applause and laughter of the original. The new recording also features an extended ending with some additional vocals and a conversation between Paul and John Lennon about the track. According to the track’s title this early released outtake from the upcoming anniversary album is the 9th take – though whether that means of this track, just in that recording session or something else is anyone’s guess.

Listen to the Beatles – ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Take 9 and Speech)’ for the first time below:

RouteNote’s Ahrix is shooting up the Billboard charts with Nova

Ahrix, one of RouteNote’s favourite artists, is shooting up the electronic charts as his single Nova hits it’s highest place in the charts yet!

Ahrix is a 20 year old Dutch producer who has built up a massive fanbase since starting at the age of 14 with millions around the world listening to his music. His biggest track ‘Nova’ has returned to the charts four years after it first released moving all the way up to 24th place in Billboard’s ‘Hot Dance/Electronic songs’.

As with all the artists who use RouteNote, working with Ahrix is always a joy and we’re thrilled to see him doing so well – especially as one of the artists on our Outertone label. Alan Walker who RouteNote also works with is just one place lower in 25th with his track ‘Alone’, with Ahrix taking Walker’s spot from last week in 24th place.

Listen to Ahrix’s charting banger Nova below:


Ahrix electronic Outertone RouteNote artist electronic edm dj producer Nova chart billboard peak position




Abbey Road Studios gets a giant transformation with new recording spaces

Abbey Road Studios have added 2 new recording spaces to their internationally renowned studios in “one of the biggest events in Abbey Road Studios’ unique history”.

The two new additions to the award winning Abbey Road studio facilities opens up even more opportunities for artists, making it ‘accessible to all recording artists, from emerging songwriters and groups to established musicians’. The two new rooms have been created from a renovation of the main townhouse front room and the garage area. The new spaces are named ‘The Gatehouse’ and ‘The Front Room’ and are available at more affordable prices compared to their ‘legendary’ Studio One, Two and Three.

The Gatehouse (pictured at the top) is a modern tracking studio which includes a multi-surfaced live room and isolated vocal booth along with a large control room and mixing desk. Stocked with the must-have technology preferred by today’s artists, it’s the perfect space for a small band or vocal act and offers optional vintage gear packages on request. The room is suited to cater to both analogue and digital based recordings, being optimised for both in it’s multi-surfaced live space.

The Front Room (pictured below) meanwhile is perfect for recordings on a smaller scale. Comprising of a live room and control room, The Front Room has been carefully designed for smaller-scale recording and music production. The studio has access to Abbey Road’s extensive range of outboard and plugins, and optional vintage equipment is available on request.

Abbey Road Studios recording studio new spaces

Managing Director at Abbey Road Studios, Isabel Garvey said: “The opening of the new studios is one of the biggest events in Abbey Road Studios’ unique history. It shows our commitment to quality recording, the creative environment and our belief that combined with our award-winning expertise, we can attract a whole new generation of artists through our doors.

“We are investing in our core business to ensure we maintain Abbey Road as a vibrant recording studio, with the two new studios designed to expand our appeal to a wide range of music creators.” With the two new varied spaces Abbey Road now has a comprehensive offering of recording spaces with the facilities for anything from large orchestral recordings, to a single person overdubbing.

Pandora’s new music streaming service has launched – Pandora Premium

After a giant lead-up by Pandora, the new Pandora Premium music streaming service is now rolling out offering an all new music experience from Pandora.

Pandora have begun the launch of their long-awaited Premium music streaming service, taking after on-demand veterans like Spotify and Deezer. The new service offers a typical $9.99 service and blends ad-free, on-demand streaming with Pandora’s radio-inspired features.

If you’re an artist/musician/producer you can upload your music to Pandora Premium for free with RouteNote and get a bunch of awesome analytics features offered exclusively by Pandora. Sign up at or find out more here:

In a statement released alongside the launch of Pandora Premium, Pandora said:

When we set out to build a premium music experience – one that would set the new standard for what a music service could be – we knew it had to be truly personal, be thoughtfully designed and take the work out of managing your world of music.

To do this, we took advantage of two of our core strengths: Our unrivaled understanding of music via the Music Genome Project and the massive amount of data we have from 81 million listeners just like you – things like station adds, thumbs (we have more than 75 billion!), searches and skips.

The result is Pandora Premium: A combination of the Pandora radio you already love, the ability to search and play any track or album and a set of playlist features tailored to your preferences. It’s totally unique to you, easy to use and loaded with amazing features for $9.99 a month.

Your Favourite Music

Open Pandora Premium and you’ll see the familiar look and feel that has always made Pandora so easy to use. In “My Music,” every station you’ve ever created, the albums and songs you collect and the playlists you create live in a simple, combined list with your most recent music at the top. And waiting for you as soon as you upgrade is your “My Thumbs Up” playlist, a collection of every song you’ve ever thumbed up across all your stations — a timeline of your greatest hits on Pandora.

Playlists, not worklists

Everyone loves playlists, but not everyone has time to make them. You’ve probably had this happen before: you think of three or four songs for a “Workout” or “Study” playlist, but building the rest of it just feels like work. In Pandora Premium, start a playlist with one or two songs of your choice, tap “Add Similar Songs” and put the power of our Music Genome Project to work to quickly and effortlessly create the perfect playlist for any activity, mood or party. No other service makes playlist creation so fun and easy.


The Power of Thumbs

We pioneered personalizing your radio stations by thumbing tracks up or down. Thumbing up a song on a station tells us you want more. Nothing changes in Pandora Premium, except now we’ve given you a way to come back to those thumbed up songs again and again. Thumb up a handful of songs on your favorite radio station and Pandora Premium will automatically create a playlist of these songs. Thumb more songs and we’ll add those to the playlist too. So whether you want to set it and forget it, or just play your favorites, Pandora Premium has you covered.

New Music for you… and only you

Everything in Browse — your home for new music — is tailored to you every week. In Pandora Premium, this now includes a set of album recommendations. But unlike other services that just surface the most obvious popular content, if you listen to a specific genre like hip hop or jazz, you are going to see the latest releases in those specific genres here.

A smarter approach to search

Finding what you want to hear in a sea of 40 million songs can be exhausting for even the most patient music fan. In Pandora Premium, we’ve done the hard work of separating the killer from the filler for you. We’ve filtered out karaoke tracks, knock-off covers and pet sounds (but not Pet Sounds) that slow down other services. You get fast, accurate search results that get even smarter over time.

Take it all with you

With Pandora Plus we introduced our predictive offline feature that automatically downloads your top stations and switches you to one of them when you lose a signal. We’re bringing that feature to Pandora Premium, and adding the ability to download any album, song or playlist you want with no limits.

Music that looks as good as it sounds

Pandora Premium features a completely redesigned Now Playing experience that dynamically changes color based on the artwork of the music you’re listening to. You’ll also find a new menu for quickly collecting, downloading and sharing, and a new layout for playback controls, including the replay button we introduced with Pandora Plus.

More on the way…

Very soon, we’ll add a bunch more to Pandora Premium. This includes AutoPlay, which picks up right where your song, album or playlist ends to ensure the music never ends unless you hit pause. We’ll also make Pandora Premium available on more devices and offer a desktop web experience that builds on the stunning update we just made available to our ad-supported and Pandora Plus desktop listeners.

Pandora Premium has begun rolling out now for the next week.
Sign up for an invite to join here:

Harmonix, Rock Band creators, are making an epic musical card game

The video game studio responsible for awesome music games like Rock Band and Dance Central are working on a card game with a musical difference.

Harmonix are veterans in the world of music gaming, responsible for bringing the dreams of guitar hero to drummers, singers and even keyboards through video games. Now Harmonix are bringing their blend of games and music to the board with ‘Dropmix’, a card game that lets you mash up tracks together.

Dropmix uses unique NFC-enabled cards, each representing different parts of a song cut up into it’s own piece. Using the 60 cards that come included in the game you can combine the different track elements together to create an entirely unique mash-up. The core cards include music from Ed Sheeran, The Jackson 5, Franz Ferdinand, The Weeknd, A Tribe Called Quest, and many more.

Hasbro, who have partnered with Harmonix for Dropmix, will be launching add-on card packs for the game with 16 card packs available for $14.99 and 5 card packs for $4.99. Hasbro say that they expect to have 300 cards launched by the end of the year. Whilst the game seems fun and unique, I’m not sure if I respect the additional add ons, especially if with 300 cards only 60 are coming with the pack.

Harmonix Dropmix board card game

Whilst you can play with the game yourself, creating bizarre and unique mashups of different song elements, there is of course a competitive element to Dropmix. The game works with an app that allows you to save and share your creations and also go up against others as you build up an ever-changing and evolving song.

With the Dropmix app you can dock your phone onto the board or table and it will take control of sharing songs, keeping score during competitive games and more.